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Find your “flow state” and get “in the zone” at work

I think I know what “in the zone” means, but what the heck is a “flow state?”

“In the zone” and “flow state” are different ways of saying the same thing. When athletes like Lebron James or artists like Meryl Streep are on top of their field, living in the moment, we know they are “in the zone.” Lebron’s three pointer moves effortlessly from his hands to the hoop… “Swish,” nothing but net. Same with Meryl, she offers the screen everything she’s got, and we, the audience, live with her in the moment she portrays. Powerful acting. When they live in the moment like this, we can say they are in a “flow state.”

How can I get “in the zone,” as you say in a “flow state,” at work?

The formula is pretty simple. To get in a flow state at work balance challenge with safety. To do that, consider the following things and make sure they are present:

The safe side:                                                                                       The challenge side:

Control                                                                                                   Feedback

Clear purpose                                                                                        Movement

Maintain safety                                                                                      Encourage challenge

When we balance safety with challenge at work we find ego fades as we get engrossed in the work. Time passes without notice and it can be hard to recall specifics of what we did. These are all signs we are in the flow state. Very exciting.

Can I help folks get in the flow state, in the zone, at work?

Of course you can! Here’s how:

1) State the purpose of the work you do together very clearly

2) Share mutual control about the expected outcome so you can work on it together

3) Make sure that what ever gets done, gets done fast and with no delays

4) Along the way to getting the work done provide constant feedback

5) Reduce the need to be “right,” or “judge,” or “resist”

6) Preserve a safe sense of things regardless of what else is happening

7) Push for challenge to make sure things are not too easy

This seven step process offers you a chance to get in the zone at work. Good luck!

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